Can I Give My Baby Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a delicious low calorie drink that adults and children can enjoy. What’s there not to love about a beverage made from almonds and water? Still, is it safe for your baby?
The short answer is no, not if your baby is under one. The long answer is its nutrient density when compared to other choices still doesn’t provide the nutrition your baby or children require.
Problems that Could Occur With Giving Your Baby Almond Milk Before Their First Birthday
- Breastfeeding issues, such as refusal to latch
- Vitamin and mineral deficiency
- Failure to grow or gain weight
- Refusal to eat
Can I Give My Baby Almond Milk at Snack Time?
Pediatricians often refer to switching or weaning from formula or breast milk to almond milk. Giving your baby almond milk at snack time shouldn’t cause a problem unless your baby has an allergy or you’re still exclusively breastfeeding.
Before giving your baby almond milk or other beverages, you should consult with your pediatrician. Keep in mind that your baby’s doctor might advise you to wait if your family has a history of tree nut allergies.
In some cases, he or she might give the green light for almond milk as a snack time beverage. However, don’t introduce almond milk before the age of one without their go-ahead.
You Suspect Your Baby Has a Dairy Allergy and Want To Try Almond Milk
Dairy allergies and intolerances are common, but giving your baby almond milk isn’t the answer. Allergy and intolerance symptoms can vary, but gas, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea can occur with intolerance. Rashes, hives, and swelling can also happen.
It’s important to discuss these symptoms and your concerns with your pediatrician before giving your baby almond milk. If your baby shows signs of facial swelling or blood in their stools, you should call your doctor immediately.
For milder symptoms, your doctor might prefer to run tests or begin an elimination diet. Breast feeding moms will also go on a special diet since the foods and drinks they consume pass into their milk. Once you and your pediatrician find the cause, they will recommend a proper course of treatment that will benefit your baby’s ever growing needs.
In some cases, what you suspected was a dairy allergy could turn out to be something else. Your baby could have multiple food allergies or intolerances too. Giving your baby almond milk could make finding the cause harder too if your baby has a reaction. Food and beverage could be unrelated to your child’s symptoms. It’s important not to attempt diagnosis on your own.
Is It Safe for Older Children and Toddlers?
Almond Milk is a fine choice for adults, and it could be for your older children too. Giving your baby almond milk over the age of one might still require you to supplement with other foods or vitamins. Be sure to ask your doctor.
Missing Nutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals from Almond Milk
Breast milk or formula are the best choices for your infant because they contain the nutrition your growing baby needs. Commercial almond milks might be fortified, but homemade varieties and some brands still lack many essential vitamins and minerals.
Keep in mind that the same applies to other plant-based milk alternatives. Their recipes address the needs of adults. Plant-based milks and beverages are not equal to formula, breast milk, or cow’s milk in terms of the nutrients. Some doctors still recommend additional supplements for children over a year old and into their teens because the fortified beverages still fall short.
Switching your baby to almond milk too soon will rob them of key nutrients that plant-based milks can’t compete with. It lacks the dietary fat, including saturated fat, your baby’s body and systems need to function and grow. Almond milk also doesn’t contain brain healthy fatty acids like DHA and ALA.
Protein can be another area where your baby won’t receive what they need. Breast milk and baby formulas contain multiple protein chains that your baby easily digests. Plant-based formulas will mimic this to ensure they provide your baby with a complete protein chain too. Giving your child almond milk can cause stomach upset because plant-based milk beverages don’t contain the gentle proteins your baby can digest.
Other Concerns About Giving Your Baby Almond Milk
If you’ve ever walked down the dairy aisle, you’ve witnessed firsthand how many brands and varieties of almond milk exist. Many of them contain added ingredients that your baby doesn’t need. These ingredients range from added sugars and flavors to thickeners and preservatives.
Exercise caution and limit these types of almond milk.
If your baby is over a year old or you have your pediatrician’s permission, opt for unsweetened, unflavored almond milk.